GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Mike Anderson, right, with "Reel Animals" partner Billy Nobles.
The silver king is still the star of the show. Massive schools are along the west coast of Florida, and it's fairly easy pickings right now. Billy and I haven't spent much time doing anything else.
Billy has been crushing them on the beaches with small to medium crabs and mixing in the occasional threadfin herring. Free-lined baits work best, but they will also hit a crab floated about 4 feet under a cork. The cork helps keep the crab in the strike zone when the tarpon are feeding in the middle of the water column along the beach.
I have spent most of my time jigging in Boca Grande Pass. We have been averaging three to six fish a morning. Hooking them can sometimes be way easier than landing them in the circus that is Boca Grande Pass. Around the Bay area, Bean Point, Egmont Key, Rattlesnake Point, plus the Gandy and Sunshine Skyway bridges are all jumping with tarpon. Several area guides have reported record numbers of hookups this season, especially around Bean Point on or near the new or full moons.
Offshore, the American red snapper and red grouper bite has been crazy. The deeper you go the better, so start in at least 80 feet of water and work your way out. Live baits will do the trick, as will frozen sardines and squid.